Last week, while making my way home from a few meetings in South Florida, I had the opportunity to meet a long standing client of our firm (let’s call him Mr. Wise) for dinner. He is respected as an intelligent, conservative business leader who has an excellent track record when it comes to evaluating business opportunities. Naturally, we talked about his family first and eventually the discussion transitioned to his businesses and the current state of the economy.

After venting some of his concerns and frustrations as to how our country has allowed itself to get into these unprecedented financial times, we agreed that business conditions are extremely difficult, especially in the automobile dealership business today. Mr. Wise then made a statement that resonated with me that I thought I would share: “Business is tough, but life is good.” This is a motto he is preaching to his employees presently in an effort to focus his employees on the power of positive thinking, gratitude for the opportunities and blessings he and his employees have. As he is evaluating cost cutting measures for his dealerships, he is also encouraging his employees to do the same. However, he is advocating a position that his employees enjoy life during these challenging times, and he is encouraging them to make good decisions (“… go out for dinner with your family on a Friday night but, instead of having steak, have spaghetti.”) Please allow me to state that by no means is Mr. Wise oblivious to the fact that there are many people who are suffering greatly across our country as a result of the economy. What he is saying is that he is choosing to focus his energy on optimism, not pessimism. 

How are you leading and responding to your employees in the midst of these uncertain times? Each of us has a choice to make when life throws us a curve-ball. How we react to the curve-ball and deal with the adversity measures who we are, both as an individual and as a leader! 

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